What to Know
- Daman Andrew Smoot, 37, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to third-degree murder for the 2004 death of Adam Brundage.
- Smoot, Brundage's roommate, was initially eyed as a suspect in the case, but authorities at the time were unable to uncover enough evidence to link him to the man's vanishing.
- In January 2020, Smoot admitted to killing Brundage after an argument at a Bucks County quarry. He led authorities to Brundage's body at that quarry.
Nearly 16 years after their loved one was brutally murdered, the family of a slain Bucks County man finally received some closure when they faced his killer in court.
Daman Andrew Smoot, 37, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to third-degree murder for the 2004 death of Adam Brundage.
While handing down the sentence on Monday, the judge told the court, “this is as close to justice as we can get.”
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Brundage went missing in October 2004. Quakertown police investigated his disappearance through November of that year before exhausting leads and eventually closing the case.
In April 2019, authorities reopened the investigation and found evidence tying Smoot, his former roommate, to the case. Prosecutors presented Smoot and his attorney with evidence on Jan. 9, 2020. Smoot confessed to beating and suffocating Brundage following an argument at a quarry.
"Damon Smoot was jealous of Adam Brundage who had come into a small, but sizable inheritance and in his jealousy, he wanted to become him. He wanted the things that Adam had access to so he killed him," Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said.
He was already serving prison time on an assault charge when he made the confession, prosecutors said.
Quakertown police began investigating Brundage's disappearance after the 26-year-old's ex-girlfriend contacted them to say he was missing. The couple had two young children together, and she explained that while Brundage was a recluse, losing contact with him was uncharacteristic behavior.
She also told authorities that Smoot was at Brundage's home on Glen Meadow Court when she stopped by to find him. Smoot had moved in a few weeks before. Smoot told the woman that Brundage was out-of-state, court documents said.
Over a series of conversations with Brundage's family in Iowa and local police, Smoot gave a series of explanations for the man's disappearance. They included stories about Brundage having cancer, being in a drug rehab and not wanting to pay child support, court documents show.
Smoot told Brundage's family that the man had gifted him the home and his 1997 maroon Mercury Cougar, which was described as a "prized possession" of Brundage's.
When authorities reopened the case, there was no employment or financial activity tied to Brundage since he went missing.
In his confession, Smoot told prosecutors that he killed Brundage on Oct. 4, 2004. The two met at Haines and Kibblehouse Quarry in Chalfont so Brundage could buy sand to fix a grading issue at his property.
The men got into a verbal argument. Smoot said he took a baseball bat from his truck and hit Brundage in the back of the head, according to court documents. Smoot said he used so much force that Brundage's skull "caved." The injury didn't kill Brundage, Smoot said, so he covered the man's face and nose until he died.
Smoot buried Brundage's body in a berm in the quarry, court documents said. He worked there as a heavy equipment operator. After confessing, he led authorities to the burial site, where they recovered Brundage's remains.
In court on Monday, Brundage’s family pleaded with a judge to hand out a maximum sentence, saying Smoot lied over and over to protect himself.
The judge warned Smoot that if he went back on the deal he made with prosecutors, he would not only face the possibility of life in prison without parole but also possibly the death penalty.
Smoot told the court that he always thinks about what he did.
“Sounds like it was self-serving to me,” Weintraub said. “But in the end he’s the one that has to live with it. No one else. Unfortunately Adam’s family had to suffer the consequences as well.”